Tramp for the Lord

by Bernard R. DeRemer

In 1947, Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) had returned to Ravensbruck, where Nazis had cruelly imprisoned her during World War II. She came to "share the gospel with the German people—to let them know that God loved them and that His forgiveness extended to everyone."1

After a meeting she found herself facing "one of the most despicable and cruel guards from Ravensbruck. His hand was extended to take up her offer of forgiveness!

How could she possibly shake hands with that subhuman, savage beast? At Ravensbruck her sister Betsy had died at the hands of the barbarians, while her father perished in another prison. They were among the millions of Nazi victims. Inhuman suffering and terrible torture all flashed before Corrie, while she "wrestled with the most difficult thing I ever had to do."

But Christ had died for her sins and she had been graciously forgiven. Now she must offer that forgiveness to another undeserving sinner. After a brief struggle, she did just that.

Saved as a young child, Corrie grew up in a devout Dutch Reformed family who operated a watch shop at their home in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Through business contacts with Jewish suppliers in Germany, the ten Booms learned of Nazi atrocities long before the war.

Corrie's brother, Willem, was the first to act. He joined the Dutch underground, which provided escape routes for Jews and sabotaged German war installations wherever possible.

The ten Boom three-story home became a sanctuary for Jews seeking to escape the fanatical Nazis, so determined to exterminate all the Jews they hated—the infamous "final solution" of Hitler and his fellow fiends.

But the ten Booms were betrayed by a fellow Dutchman who suspected that they were Jewish sympathizers. Arrest and imprisonment quickly followed. More than 96,000 women died at Ravensbruck, but in a most remarkable and providential "clerical error," Corrie was released soon after Christmas, 1944.

Afterward, she found that "the entire world became my classroom"—thus becoming, in her own words, "a tramp for the Lord." "Since World War II, I have traveled around it twice, speaking in more than 60 countries on all continents."2

Early in her ministry, she determined not to ask for money for herself or even travel expenses. She found that over the years the Lord supplied her needs, sometimes most remarkably.

Once when she felt a direct command to go to Russia, she needed 2,000 guilders (the monetary unit of the Netherlands) for the trip. She asked the Lord for that sum, but was amazed at the answer: "Give away 2,000 guilders" to a mission group with an immediate need! She did, then received an advance from the publisher of one of her books, which was more than she required! She testified, "God always has more for us than we would think of asking."

Corrie's travels took her to remote mission fields in Africa and elsewhere, where she found primitive conditions and great difficulties as well as dangers. Her visits brought incalculable blessing to many isolated missionaries, far from home, comforts, and conveniences.

During her first visit to India, she was to speak at a conference in Vellore. But on arrival at Bangkok, she learned that the next plane for Vellore would not leave for three days, and she would miss the first days of the meetings.

While she waited, she led back to the Lord the one who was in charge of her arrangements. Then he was able to arrange an earlier flight to her destination. He testified, "I must thank you for bringing me back to the Shepherd."

Of her many books, these are available today: The Hiding Place, Tramp for the Lord, Prisoner and Yet, Each New Day, Not I but Christ, and Amazing Love. Other titles, such as He Cares for You, and In My Father's House may be found in second hand stores and libraries. Look also for The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, by Pamela Rosewell Moore, the story of Corrie's final years after the Lord took away her power of speech.

In 1977 "one of the most remarkable evangelists of our time" retired to live at Shalom House in California. She went to be with the Lord in 1983. What an abundant entrance she must have had.


1. From "Shalom," by Ruth Tucker, in More Than Conquerors, 1992 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; excerpts used by permission.

2. This quote and later ones: Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord; Fleming H. Revell Co., a division of Baker Publishing Group, 1974.

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